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Rider Insider: Side Effects of Horses

What unexpected side effects have you experienced from your involvement with horses?

By Horse Illustrated Staff - @HI_mag | July 28, 2014

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Horse-Riding Friends
Side effects of horses may include: Health; happiness; friendship; the uncontrollable desire to get outside and ride.


There's a popular short humor piece that has been circulating the Internet since as far back as 2001 titled "Potential Danger of Horse Hair." It begins:

The National Institute of Health has announced the discovery of a potentially dangerous substance in the hair of horses. This substance, called "amobacter equuii" has been linked with the following symptoms in females:

  • Reluctance to cook, clean or do housework.
  • Reluctance to wear make-up, good clothes or heels.
  • Reluctance to spend money on home or car repairs until after "baby has new shoes, pad, blanket, tack, grain, hay & supplements."

And while this is a humor piece, we'd argue that time spent with horses does, in fact, have side effects for both men and women, and most of them are positive.

For example, spending time at the barn, on the show circuit or at local saddle club events could lead to an expanded social circle. There are even reports of afflicted people meeting their best friend or significant other through their involvement with equines.

The psychological effects of horses are well-documented. Time with a horse can replace feelings of sadness or anxiety with peace and contentedness. Many riders find that they have a new sense of confidence once they discover they are able to work with a 1,000-pound animal, and that confidence spills over into their life outside the barn.

In order to feed their addiction, some equestrians even cite improved fitness, weight management and a desire to spend time outdoors and away from electronic entertainment as they pursue their need to become a better rider.

We want to know what side effects you've experienced from riding or being around horses. Click "Submit a Comment" below and share your thoughts. Some of the editors' favorites will be published in an upcoming issue of Horse Illustrated!

This month, Noble Outfitters is sponsoring the Rider Insider column in Horse Illustrated with a prize for the selected featured response. If you'd like to be considered for a prize, make sure to include your contact info in the email field of the comment form (emails will not be publicly displayed.)

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Reader Comments

Erin    Wadsworth, OH

9/16/2014 4:11:46 PM

I can get nervous around new people and I am often shy. I've recently started to find my voice on and around horses, especially by helping teach kids how to care for the horses.

Hannah    sacramento, CA

9/15/2014 4:53:55 PM

You know you are infected by the "horse bug" when all your spare money goes towards your horses, and people get a glazed over look when you are talking to them and you slowly realize you were blabbing about how good your horse was last weekend. Side effects being no spare cash, and having very few two sided conversations about a topic other than horses.

joley    craigsvillie, WV

9/8/2014 4:47:35 PM

Since I've started riding I have had the urge to always do something horse/barn related! Several of my non-horsey friends get upset when i always talk about something my horse has achieved lately! Another side effect is forming a habit of saying whoa when you want some one to stop!

Maggie    Morgantown, WV

9/6/2014 4:24:59 AM

Ever since I started riding, I've wanted to be at the barn at every second! When I have a bad day, my worries seem to disappear at the barn. My horse seems to know how I am feeling, and knows exactly how to ease me. When I started lessons I thought I would go once a week and have my lesson and leave, but no, horses have an effect to suck you in!

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